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Monday, August 1, 2005

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St. Alphonsus Liguori

Numbers 11:4-15
Psalm 81
Matthew 14:22-36

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over-eaters victorious

"Would that we had meat for food! We remember the fish we used to eat without cost in Egypt, and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic." —Numbers 11:4-5

Sometimes we're more interested in the salad bar than in salvation! After liberation from 430 years of slavery, the only thing the Israelites can say is: "Where's the beef?" (see Nm 11:4) Jesus was healing people by the thousands, but the disciples wanted to stop the proceedings so everyone could go and buy something to eat (Mt 14:15).

"Such as these will end in disaster! Their god is their belly and their glory is in their shame. I am talking about those who are set upon the things of this world" (Phil 3:19). "Such men serve, not Christ our Lord, but their own bellies" (Rm 16:18). When will we stop living to eat?

When we turn over to Jesus our entire lives, including our appetite for food, Jesus will not take away our appetite but will give us other appetites which become stronger as we give into them. He will give us a thirst for the Spirit (Jn 7:37) and a "hunger and thirst for holiness" (Mt 5:6), His Word, prayer, and communion with Him. These desires of the Spirit will lust against the flesh (Gal 5:17).

"My point is that you should live in accord with the Spirit and you will not yield to the cravings of the flesh" (Gal 5:16). "If you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the evil deeds of the body, you will live" (Rm 8:13).

Prayer:  Father, may I not live to eat but live to love You.

Promise:  "Israel I would feed with the best of wheat, and with honey from the rock I would fill them." —Ps 81:17

Praise:  St. Alphonsus heard God tell him: "Leave the world, and give yourself to Me." He then abandoned his law practice and entered the seminary.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Am I Going to Heaven? on audio AV 54-3 or video V-54.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 8, 2005

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